31st December 2018 and the last thing you probably want to read is yet another review of the year. A review of the year is a canny device by writers and TV producers to enable them to not have to produce anything new and instead regurgitate something they produced earlier. So my review of the year is a review of the best music of 2018 and particular the best – that is my favourite – albums. But first, my favourite tune of the year.

And the winner is Ottolenghi by Loyle Carner ft Jordan Rakei. It’s a lush bit of hip-hop and it’s accompanied by the very best music video of 2018. It narrowly beats Louis Cole’s brilliant Tunnels in the Air ft Thundercat and Courtney Barnett’s Charity.

Here is my list of the best albums of 2018:

  1. Time by Louis Cole. Funky, jazz-infused and, best of all, great tunes beautifully played.
  2. Tell Me What You Really Think by Courtney Barnett. A flawless, filler-free record. Great songs, clever lyrics and Nirvana-style guitars.
  3. World’s Strongest Man by Gaz Coombes. The ex Supergrass chap sings and plays with the intensity of Thom Yorke. His best record yet.
  4. Little Dark Age by MGMT. Gorgeous electronica pop songs. Almost perfect.
  5. Hope Downs by Rolling Coastal Blackout Fever. The best effort so far from the Aussie rockers.
  6. 137 Avenue Kaniama by Baloji. The Congolese/Belgian rapper with some lush tunes.
  7. Chris by Christine and the Queens. Maybe this should be higher than seventh. So good.
  8. Jellies by 77:78. Excellent offshoot of the Isle of Wight’s excellent Bees. Great debut.
  9. God’s Favourite Customer by Father John Misty. Another fine record from the former Fleet Foxes singer and drummer.
  10. Alle Sauvage by Beak. Portishead’s Geoff Barrow’s latest project is a winner.


2018 was a vintage year for new music. Amid the endless demand for nostalgia and despite the collapse in music sales, the standard of new music has been as good as I can remember.

Do try some new music as well as playing and listening to the stuff you already know and like. And please buy your music because musicians should be paid for their work. I can understand why people like to stream music because it’s virtually free, but really it’s legalised theft. There is still no feeling like owning your music.